All the talk heading into the UFC Fight Night 61 main event between Frank Mir and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was about their respective future in the sport. They came into the bout a combined 0-6-1 in their last seven outings. Needless to say, both men have seen better fighting days. That is why it was understandable when all the talk surrounding this bout centered on the imminent retirement of the fighter who came out on the losing end. Some argued that even the winner should call it a career and ride out onto the sunset with the victory.
Let us fast-forward to almost a week after the two heavyweights squared off in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Seemingly, all the headlines are relatively unchanged. Everyone is still discussing what should be next for both veterans, and the consensus still focuses on one thing: retirement.
It seems like the proper route for both men, but we have seen this story too many times in MMA to expect either of them to actually say the big “R” word.
It should be more logical and sensible for Mir to be the one to finally step away from the sport to which he has dedicated so many years of his adult life. He is a former UFC heavyweight champion, has defeated some of the legends the sport has to offer, and been involved in arguably the highest-profile fight in UFC history against the polarizing Brock Lesnar. Mir has been involved in some of the more gruesome — and awesome — submissions we have ever seen in the sport, let alone in the heavyweight division, and he has the most wins by a heavyweight inside the UFC.
Mir can say he is officially done tomorrow and he would without question be considered a future UFC Hall of Famer. However, that just makes too much sense. There is no safer bet to make in sports today than betting the house on Mir to step inside the eight-sided cage once again.
Now that we have come to terms with that, who makes sense for Mir’s next opponent? There is only one answer to that question: Brock Lesnar. Outside of a third fight against the WWE superstar, there aren’t many guys for Mir to fight inside the UFC’s heavyweight division. He has fought almost the entire top 10 and, let’s be honest, things will not go very well for him against those guys should he choose to make another run.
Mir has very little left to prove, yet we all know he will sign on the dotted line and fight. Is that the smart thing to do? It seems like we all the know the answer to that. Well, except for one person, Mir himself.
As for Bigfoot, things can get a little complicated. Although he has been brutally knocked out in his last two fights, Silva has a better argument than Mir to keep chugging away at another crack at the title.
Other than beating Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, though, what has been Silva’s crowning jewel? He got a crack at a UFC belt, but he was absolutely mauled by current champ Cain Velasquez. He had some nice moments in the UFC with wins over Alistair Overeem and Travis Browne, but outside of those fights he hasn’t fared very well under the UFC banner.
The one intangible Silva and his team can hang on to is the fact he is fighting other heavyweights. Big men punching each other in the face with four-ounce gloves will lead to knockouts more often than not, right? It is very easy for Team Silva to chalk it up to that and not worry too much about the sheer violence that has been dished out to the former EliteXC champion over the last three years or so. Unlike Mir, Bigfoot still has a long way to go to prove he is one of the best heavyweights to fight for the UFC, and that is motivation enough for him to keep fighting — and not only fight, but fight top-tier heavyweights, which could get ugly should the UFC comply with his demands.
Retirement was the main theme before Silva and Mir did their thing down in Brazil. Here we are a few days after the fact and we are still beating the drum down into the ground. Unfortunately, as sane as it sounds to most of us, neither man thinks it is time to hang ‘em up. They feel they have many fights left. How will things play out for both these heavyweights? Only time will tell. But given their recent history, I can’t imagine it will end well.